Victorious Knighthawks, Rush to Meet for NLL Title

Toronto Saturday night, the Rochester Knighthawks defeated the Toronto Rock 17-13 at Air Canada Centre to advance to the NLL Championship game as the East Division Champions.

The Rock fell behind by a pair of goals much to the delight of the near 500 Knighthawks fans that made the trip to Toronto for the game. Josh Sanderson and Brenden Thenhaus responded with a pair of Rock goals to tie the game 2-2. Rochester's Craig Point took the last shot of the opening quarter and pushed the Knighthawks back into the lead with less than a second showing on the clock.

Kasey Beirnes opened the scoring to tie the game 4-4 and the Knighthawks and Rock each scored just 26 seconds apart to keep the score even at 5-5. Rochester connected for the final two goals of the first half to lead 7-5.

The Knighthawks began to pull away in the third quarter outscoring the Rock 4-2 in the period and building an 11-7 lead through three quarters.

Rochester and Toronto each scored 6 goals in the final quarter as the Rock couldn't make up any ground in the late going.

Rochester's Cory Vitarelli led the offensive charge for the Knighthawks scoring 4 goals and adding an assist. Johnny Powless had 2 goals and 4 assists. Matt Vinc made 51 saves for the win in the Rochester goal.

Garrett Billings had a goal and 6 assists for 7 points while Josh Sanderson had 4 goals and an assist.

The Knighthawks will now face the winner of the West Division Final between Edmonton and Minnesota next weekend.

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(Rochester, May 12) ... The Rochester Knighthawks ended their playoff drought in Toronto, defeating the defending champion Toronto Rock 17-13 tonight at the Air Canada Centre. Rochester will play the winner of the Edmonton Rush-Minnesota Swarm game in the Champion's Cup.

The Knighthawks were spear headed by Cory Vitarelli (4+1), Johnny Powless (2+4), Joe Walters (2+2), Mike Accursi (2+1), Jarrett Davis (1+3), and Craig Point (1+2). Matt Vinc was strong in net with 51 saves on 64 shots.

For the Rock, Garrett Billings (1+6), Colin Doyle (3+2), Stephen Leblanc (1+3), Josh Sanderson (4+1), and Kasey Beirnes (2+0) led the scoring while goalie Nick Rose made 22 saves on 36 shots.

The Knighthawks started quickly scoring the first two goals of the game to take an early 2-0 lead over the defending champion Toronto Rock. Cody Jamieson, team leader in points during the regular season, started the scoring at 1:04 followed by a goal by Accursi at 9:32 of the first.

Toronto went on a two-goal run to tie the score at two late in the first with goals by Josh Sanderson and Brenden Thenhaus. Point added a last second goal at 14:59 to re-take the lead making the score 3-2.

In the second, Toronto tied the score at three with a Kasey Biernes goal at 1:17. Hometown fan favorite, Joe Walters scored to take a 4-3 lead but seconds later the Rock answered with a goal by Colin Doyle at 5:24 to tie the game at four.

Walters scored his second goal of the game to give Rochester the lead again, the third time the Knighthawks re-gained the lead. Dylan Evans added onto the lead with a goal at 7:43 making the score 6-4. Jesse Gamble, however, reduced Rochester's lead to one when he put the ball past Vinc in transition, but Cory Vitarelli scored at 14:24 to re-take the two goal lead, making the score 7-5 going into halftime.

Rochester started the second half with three unanswered goals. Goals by Stephen Keogh, Accursi, and Jamieson gave the Knighthawks a 10-5 lead. A goal by Sanderson made the score 10-6, but Rochester responded quickly with a goal by Jarrett Davis at 6:06 to make the score 11-6. The Rock kept fighting as Billings' goal made the score 11-7 to end the scoring in the third.

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